I recently read a devotional that really struck me. It convicted me and made me rethink my attitude toward my life and my day-to-day interactions.
I thought I’d share it with you today. At first, I wanted to summarize it and just hit the high points of the devotion, but I couldn’t find anything that could be left out.
From New Morning Mercies, by Paul David Tripp:
Today you will spend solitary moments of conversation with yourself, either listing your complaints or counting your blessings.
Think with me for a moment. Do you live a life of blessing or complaint? It is so easy to grumble. It is so easy to find fault. It is so easy to be discontent. It is so easy to find things that are less than you want them to be. It is so easy to be irritated and impatient. It is so easy to groan and moan about the difficulties of life. It is so easy to be dissatisfied.
Why are these things so easy? Well, they’re easy because sin still causes us to make it all about us. Because sin really is selfishness at its core, we all still tend to shrink our worlds down to the small confines of our wants, our needs and our feelings. We tend to judge the good of our lives by how much of what we want we are able to actually have. At street level, it is tempting to live a God-forgetful, meistic existence. If you put yourself in the center of your world, you will find plenty of things to complain about.
It is also true that you live in a fallen world where people and things are not functioning the way God intended. This world really is terribly broken. Life here really is hard. You face all kinds of difficulties, big and small. People disappoint you. They make your life hard. Obstacles appear in your way. In some way, the fallenness of your world enters your door every day. Combine the hardships of life in the fallen world with the self-centeredness of sin and you have a recipe for disaster, or at least a miserable life of discontent.
The Bible does not see grumbling and complaining as little things. In Deuteronomy 1, Moses recounts how the people of Israel ‘murmured’ (grumbled) about their lives and embedded in that murmuring were questions about the goodness and wisdom of God. God’s assessment was that by their grumbling the people had rebelled against him; they had shown they were unwilling to do what he had called and enabled them to do. The joy or complaint of your heart always shapes your willingness to trust God and to do His will.
Complaining forgets God’s grace. It ignores His presence. It fails to see the beauty of His promises. It allows the display of His splendor in creation to go unnoticed. It questions His goodness, faithfulness, and love. It wonders if He is there and if He cares. If you believe in God and His control over everything that exists, then you have to accept that all of your grumbling is ultimately grumbling against Him. Yes, it is so easy to complain. It is so easy to forget the daily blessings to fall down on each of us. Our readiness to complain is another argument for the forgiving and rescuing grace that Jesus, without complaint, willingly died to give us.
This rings true for every Christian. We all have things that frustrate or irritate us that we complain about inwardly and oftentimes outwardly as well. It’s so important that despite the frustrations and difficulties of the earth, we keep our eyes pointed upward, toward our all-loving, Almighty God who will never leave us.